If you’re going to announce your authenticity to the world then you better have the authentic product to back it up. And I want what I pay for. If I go to a Journey concert, I want to see Steve Perry, not some second-rate stand-in. And if I go to a place that calls itself Naples 45 – it better be on 45th Street and it better be reminiscent of Naples.
Naples 45 is inside the MetLife building and the exterior is inviting but screams suburban shopping mall. Unless you’re catching a train out of town or snapping photos of all the big buildings, why else would you be in this part of town? And as I discovered the other night, Naples 45 is not a destination place.
The establishment is much bigger than it needs to be and gives off a strange combination of faux high class luxuriousness and local friendly sports bar. It looked like the bar could have been a hot happy hour spot, but I think the restaurant is past its prime because there were only a few people enjoying drinks.
The service was reminiscent of a corporate mid-level chain (it is part of the Patina Restaurant Group). The server robotically recited his lines and suggested what he had to suggest to complete the 16th step of service or whatever. And no, if we wanted a salad to start with, we would have ordered one.
The pizza itself is just alright. The margherita pizza had too much cheese and not a whole lot of flavor. I found the mozzarella to be rather salty and very overwhelming. The sauce was hidden underneath the cheese but damned if I could taste it. I had no problems with the crust. It was well-cooked and crispy, but also was missing an important element: flavor.
We also had the prosciutto pizza with mozzarella, arugula, and parmesan cheese. The ingredients all seemed fresh, but again the problem was the lack of any real interesting or lively tastes. The pizza is about as inspired as the nutritional label of a can of tomato sauce.
As for it being authentically from Naples, I guess I can’t make a fair assessment, having never been to Naples. But in my recent adventures, I’ve learned a lot of what constitutes a Neapolitan pizza. And this is not it. They may use all the right ingredients and even cook in a wood oven, but something is missing here. There is too much cheese, not enough olive oil, and the tomato sauce is spotty and flavorless. But the good news is, the restaurant is indeed on 45th Street.
Is Naples 45 the best pizza in New York? It’s mediocre at best and if you think this is the best NY has to offer, you really have to get out more often. I give it a 4 out of 10.